Blue skies may be top of an Irish person’s wish list for the summer, but in Ethiopia months of dry heat make it difficult for people to grow food to survive.
The changing climate has led to longer dry spells, with rain falling intermittently, if at all.
For people like Philpos Funto (32), blue skies and dry soil can lead to empty plates and hungry stomachs.
Caption: Philpos Funto (32) shows us some of his crop, Ethiopia. Photos: Tamiru Legesse.
“Many people run out of crops and food in March and April and have to wait until the following harvest season which is in September and October,” he says.
Trócaire funded a project which gave people like Philpos the materials necessary to build water wells. The wells store water all year round, ensuring that farmers are not reliant on rains that often do not materialise.
Not only have the wells secured water for Philpos, his wife, Agnu, and their five children, but it has also allowed the family to grow different types of vegetables, improving their nutritional intake.
“Before this water well was constructed, I was growing vegetables only during the rainy season which is once a year,” he says. “Now, I can grow them two or three times a year using water from this well.”
As well as ensuring the family does not go hungry, the well has helped Philpos to produce enough food to sell at the local market. What he earns at the market is invested into his children’s education.
From a situation of hunger, the family is now looking to the future with hope and positivity.
“A few years ago, it was just a dream for me to be able to sell produce at the market,” he says. “My savings are not large, but I have managed to give my children what they need for their education.”